seminar italyItaly: God's Island of Dew Melton Travel Seminar
Location: Italy

"God's Island of Dew" explores this most fascinating community two thousand years after the exile by Rome. For centuries, during both imperial times and the Renaissance, Italy was at the center of European development, and even until the rise of Fascism and the events of the Second World War, modern Italy had a place for its Jews in its burgeoning political life. The seminar allows for an engagement with Jewish and Italian history and culture in ways that only Melton can offer!


  • This seminar, taking place in Italy, will be led by Haim Aronovitz, Director of Melton Travel Seminars. The seminar is open to adults who enjoy in-depth Jewish educational travel, including all Melton students and graduates.   

    For more information about this seminar, please click the tab headings in this section or the icon on mobile devices.

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  • Tour Includes

    • Accommodations: 11 nights
    • Meals: Breakfast and one additional meal daily
    • Educational Programming: All entrance fees and programs as per the Melton itinerary.
  • DAY ONE - Monday

    2 p.m. Seminar opens at hotel in Rome

    All Leading to Rome: Water and paths as symbols

    Rome's Seven Hills: An overview of the ancient heart of the city and a view from inside the Forum, heart of ancient Rome 

    The Fall of Judea: A World Destroyed? (Alongside Titus' Arch)    

    The Clash Between Jewish and Roman Values (Visit the Colosseum)

    Dinner at Pitigliani Community Center, hosted by Dr. Ambra Tedeschi: Reflections of an Italian Jew

    Overnight: Rome

    DAY TWO - Tuesday

    Jews and New Jews Persecuted? (Visit the Vigna Randanii catacombs)

    The Jews and Pagan Rome: Midrashic points of view (Trajan's Forum)

    Break for lunch at Trevi Fountain

    Hadrian, Hero and Villain (Visit the Pantheon; discuss Hadrian in Jewish thought)    

    Developing Traditions: Christian Imperial Rome and the Jews

    Visit Piazza Navona and surroundings: study session) 

    Bonfires of Books and People
    (The Campo di Fiori)

    From 5:30 p.m. Free  to explore (pre-reserve for museums on your own)

    Evening: (Optional) Tour of Trastevere with Haim

    Overnight: Rome

    DAY THREE - Wednsday 

    a.m. The Jews in Medieval Context  (Meet with Prof. Anna Foa)

    Michelangelo and the Jews: Holy Moses! (Study session at the Church of Saint Peter in Chains)

    Meeting with Hon. Ambassador of Israel at the Israel Embassy to the Holy See

    Transfer to the Vatican and break for lunch in its precincts

    p.m. The Vatican: State Within a State
    Special meeting with Vatican personage (t.b.c.)
    Visit to Sistine Chapel and to St. Peter's Basilica.

    5:30 p.m. Free time to continue exploring the city or relax

    Overnight: Rome

    DAY FOUR - Thursday 

    a.m. Travel to Venice.  On the way - The Routes We Follow: May 1943....

    Arrival in Venice; transfer by boat to Lido Island 

    Break for lunch

    The Past: A Maritime Republic and Its Jews
      (Brief introduction, study session and explore the Jewish cemetery)

    Today and Tomorrow: A Vision of Jews in Venice.  Discussion with Dr. Shaul Bassi

    Disembark and leisurely walk to the hotel

    5:30 p.m. Check in at the hotel and free evening

    Overnight: Venice

    DAY FIVE - Friday 

    Depart for St. Mark's Square

    Introduction: Venice and Jerusalem

    The Structure of Lay Power in the Republic (Visit Doge's Palace)

    The Seat of Clerical Power in Venice (Visit Basilica of St. Mark's)

    Walk to Ghetto (lunch on the way)

    p.m. Meet at Entrance to Jewish Museum in Ghetto Nuovo

    Jews in the Ghetto (Museum Exhibition and Visit to Synagogues)

    Study session: Jewish Merchants and Venice 

    Late afternoon: Meet at hotel or in area of Ghetto for Kabbalat Shabbat

    Seudat Shabbat

    Overnight: Venice

    DAY SIX - Shabbat

    FREE to "lekh lekha B'Noah" ("stroll around at ease") until late afternoon.  Then, meet in the lobby of the hotel

    Jews in the World (Between Ramhal and Benamozegh)

    Oneg Shabbat and Seudah Shlishiet

    late p.m. Havdalah

    Rest of evening at leisure

    Overnight: Venice

    DAY SEVEN - Sunday 

    a.m.  Travel from Venice to Padua

    Padua: The Old City and Central Piazza (tour) 

     Introduction to Jewish Padua (in the Jewish Museum)

    Visit the Ghetto, meet community member and visit synagogue 

    Padua, Ramchal and the Jewish mystical tradition (Study in synagogue)

    Lunch break in center of Padua
    Free time in central Piazza, or pre-reserved visit to Capella Scrovegni

    p.m. Depart for Florence

    The City States and the Medieval Jewish Political Thought (Brief Study session)

    Check into the hotel and evening at leisure

    Overnight: Florence

    DAY EIGHT - Monday 

    Visit to Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana at San Lorenzo; view their prized Judaica items

    Travel from Florence to Siena

    On the Way: Rural Jewish Populations in Tuscany

    Visit Duomo and walk to Piazza del Campo

    Break for lunch in the area of the Piazza

    Visit synagogue and museum and study session

    Travel from Siena to Terra di Seta Kosher wine estate

    Discussion with owners over cheese, wine and a light meal

    Return to Florence

    Overnight: Florence

    DAY NINE - Tuesday

    a.m.  Following the Jewish Presence in the City Center through to 19th Century (Walking tour of area near the Duomo)

    Visit Piazza Della Signoria and the Palazzo Vecchio, including the Hall of the 500

    Florentine Politics and the Symbol of David vs Goliath

    Lunch break and free time

    A visit to the Synagogue and The Jewish Museum of Florence

    Lunch break (near kosher restaurant)

    Michelangelo's David and the Other Treats (visit the Galleria dell'Academia)

    Evening at leisure

    Overnight: Florence

    DAY TEN - Wednesday 

    Travel from Florence to Pitigliano 
    Explore "Piccolo Jerusalem" museum

    Meet with last representative of Pitigliano's once-strong community: Elena Servi
    Free time to browse
    p.m.Travel from Pitigliano to Rome

    Evening: From Moses to Moses: A special night tour of the Fountains of Rome (optional)

    Overnight: Rome

    DAY ELEVEN - Thursday 

    a.m. Cum Nimis: A Tour of the Rome Ghetto and study session

    Visit  the Jewish Museum of Rome and its Synagogue

    Free time to browse and lunch

    p.m. Looking Ahead: Meet with representative of the next generation

    Closing session at the hotel

    Farewell Dinner in Ghetto

    Overnight: Rome

    Continued travel arrangements as per individual arrangements from Friday morning. 

    Note: Itinerary subject to change. Museum visits and personal shopping time may be disrupted due to unforeseen circumstances or the many religious, state and local holidays observed in the destinations being visited.

  • Accommodations

    Details will be available soon.

    Note: We will do our best to assist you with extensions both before and after the seminar.

  • Flight Arrangements

    We will be pleased to assist you in any and all flight arrangements, including additional travel plans, through our partners at Gil Travel. Please contact Fred Bomze (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 215-568-6655 x 244) with your flight requests.

  • Need to Know

    • Group rates are per person based on double occupancy and a minimum of 15 fully paying participants per bus. Should the number of participants drop below the minimum listed above, we may adjust the cost of the trip to reflect the additional expense of operating the program.
    • Tour prices are per person in U.S. dollars. All hotel accommodations, motor coach transportation, special dinners, sightseeing, admissions, luggage handling and the services of local guides, drivers, and the tour guide/educator are included.
    • A non-refundable sum of $500 is required for registration. This sum will be put towards the overall cost of the seminar. If the seminar is cancelled, the registration fee will be refunded.
    • Hotel Accommodations: The tour price includes all hotel accommodations, in hotel rooms with private bathrooms. Our standard is to provide the best available hotels while considering value. Although the level of the accommodations may differ slightly from hotel to hotel, we are committed to your comfort. Two-bed rooms are reserved in most hotels. Triples are two-bed rooms with a rollaway cot where available and are not recommended when considering the comfort of those in the room. King-size beds are not available in most hotels; what is considered king-size usually consists of two single beds pushed together and made up separately, but with one headboard. Some two-bed rooms may have two twin - not full- or queen-size - beds.
    • Meals are included as indicated in the itinerary. All meals provided in Israel are kosher. In travel beyond Israel, group meals are kosher unless otherwise specified. Participants can order additional kosher meals at prices set by our local agents.
    • All trips are conducted by a Melton educator who remains with the group throughout the tour.
    • Gratuities Included: All gratuities for restaurant staff are included.
    • Baggage: The Travel Agent and/or Tour Operator, shall not be held responsible for any damage to or loss of luggage/personal items. All damage/loss must be reported at time of incident and documented in writing by local authorities for submission to the insurance company. With regard to airline baggage allowance, different carriers have different regulations for business and coach, please check with your individual carrier with regard to permitted number of pieces, weights and dimensions. The tour operator is not responsible for fees levied by any air carrier for the transport of personal belongings of any kind.
    • Porterage at hotels. Please note that room service is not included.

    Not Included

    • Flights and personal insurance are not included.
    • Transfers from / to the airport unless as part of an organized group travelling together.
    • Personal Expenses, including meals not mentioned above or drinks during meals, unless specified above, or room service.
    • Travel and health Insurance.

    Additional Information

    • Airline Security Measures: In the U.S., you must provide identification in the form of a passport at the time of airport check-in for travel to international destinations. Your passport name must match the name on your tour reservation and airline ticket or you may be denied boarding.
    • If you are traveling from an airport outside the jurisdiction of the U.S, you will need to determine what travel documentation and identification is required for that particular airport.
    • Due to heightened security regulations, certain items such as a metal nail file, pocketknife, cigarette lighter or tweezers, and some liquid, gel, or aerosol items may not be permitted in your carry-on luggage. Please call your airline prior to departure to obtain current information on non-permissible carry-on items and recommended airport check-in times. You may also wish to visit the Transportation Security Administration website at to obtain more information on acceptable identity documentation and prohibited luggage items.
    • Holidays and Museum Closures - Museum visits and personal shopping time may be disrupted due to unforeseen circumstances or the many religious, state and local holidays observed in the destinations being visited.
    • Photography During Tours: We will occasionally use photographs taken by fellow guests or your trip director for promotional purposes. If you prefer that your photo not be used in any marketing activities, please notify us at the start of your tour.
  • We strongly recommend that comprehensive health coverage and trip cancellation insurance be purchased.

    Gil Travel recommends RoamRight Travel Insurance. Consider travel protection for:

    • Trip Cancellation
    • Trip Interruption
    • Emergency Medical Expenses
    • Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation of Remains
    • Trip Delay
    • Baggage & Personal Effects
    • Baggage Delay and more…


    For more information on the available plans or to enroll, visit RoamRight Travel Insurance or contact RoamRight at 1-866-891-6614 and reference Gil Travel.

    Please Note: To be eligible for the waiver of pre-existing medical condition exclusion, the protection plan must be purchased within 21 days from the time you make your initial trip deposit, the entire non-refundable amount of the trip must be insured, and you must be medically able to travel at the time the premium is paid. However, the travel protection plan itself can be purchased any time prior to departure.

  • For more information, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..